Bears Stadium

Aurora the latest municipality to contact Chicago Bears with interest in hosting a stadium site

Aurora reached out to the Chicago Bears with their interest in hosting a stadium site for the team.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Aurora is the latest suburb to reach out to the Chicago Bears with interest in hosting a stadium site for the football team.

Here's the letter Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and the city delivered to the Bears:

“Aurora, the City of Lights, the second largest city in Illinois, is built on the unshakable foundation of its storied past. The opportunity to partner with the historic Chicago Bears as you search for the perfect new home is one we are eager to take on . . . . . . turning a vision into reality is not always easy. It requires the right resources to make dreams come true. Aurora offers unparalleled key resources to take a vision and make dreams come true. Our professional team of government and development professionals has a proven track record of getting big things done."

"Recent high-profile examples include:
• Our nationally-recognized $360M development with PENN Entertainment relocates Hollywood Casino Aurora to a new site that will allow it to thrive and grow.
• Our redeveloped Fox Valley Mall that is being reimagined into a new mixed-use center.
• The newest Del Webb Retirement Community in our far southern section of the City.
• A variety of new downtown reinvestments that will add 500 new residential units and 10,000 SF of new retail space to our exceptional riverfront location.

"Sitting in the cradle of the Fox Valley, Aurora is easily accessed by plane, car, and train. Located just miles from O’Hare and Midway Airports and our recently expanded Aurora Municipal Airport, Aurora easily satisfies any organizational supply chain requirements and visitor air transport needs. Easy access to all parts of our great city from four major interchanges off Interstate 88 makes getting to Aurora by car a breeze. Our two major stops along the BSNF Metra train line, the busiest line in the greater Chicagoland area, provide convenient rail access."

". . . Welcoming a historic organization such as the Chicago Bears would enhance our bold vision for Aurora and will provide the Chicago Bears with a new home to begin the next phase of your storied history. We invite you to visit our great city to explore the exciting opportunity Aurora can bring to the world-famous Chicago Bears."

According to a press release delivered with the letter, the release states Irvin and the city are "throwing its proverbial ‘hat in the ring’ in the two-page letter."

It also states the Bears not only received the letter but "responded quickly and positively."

Aurora is the third known suburb to reach out to the Bears behind Naperville and Waukegan. Kevin Warren also met with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, but the odds of the Bears returning to Soldier Field in the long-term outlook are small.

The Bears purchased the 326-acre property in Arlington Heights in February for $197.2 million. Arlington Park is home to the renowned horse track previously owned by Churchill Downs, Inc. The Bears purchased the land with building a new stadium in mind.

Recently, however, officials from three local school districts – Palatine, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, and Palatine-Schaumburg District 211 – and the Cook County Assessor set the value of the Arlington Park property at $197 million, a massive increase from the $33 million assessment in 2021.

That raised the Bears' eventual annual tax bill to $7.9 million, well more than what they believe is a fair price to pay. They recently upped their assessment to $52 million in hopes of coming to an agreement on a fair property assessment.

Since the beginning of the debacle, the Bears announced Arlington Heights is no longer the organization's "singular focus" for a stadium site. They opened the door to other municipalities around the Chicagoland area. The cities listed above have already contacted the Bears with their interest in hosting a stadium site for the team.

Check back to this story for updates.

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